Ask yourself when you last had a one-on-one conversation with your significant other or your children.
When did you last talk with your kids about how they’re doing in school, about their friends, and about the things they’re interested in and passionate about?
Are you just going through the motions, but not really “communicating” with your family?
Communication is the backbone of any relationship. It’s how you know things are going good, and how you find out when things are going bad.
A lack of communication, in itself, could mean something’s wrong.
Why Communication is Important
Without communication, your relationships begin to break down. Spouses that don’t communicate may begin to think the other is hiding something, or they feel as though they are being ignored and are not wanted. Kids can feel this way as well – as though you lack of interest in their lives means you don’t love them.
It’s important to make time to talk to everyone in your family. Talk to them as a group, but also make time for one-on-one conversations. Talking to them individually helps them know that you care and that you are truly interested in what they alone have to say. Remind them all that you love them and that they are an important part of your life.
You’ll also be able to stay aware of what is going on in each other’s lives – like when your spouse has work meetings that will keep them out late or when your kids have practice for their extracurricular activities that they participate in.
When you’re all on the same page communicating, family life can run much smoother. Here are three things your family can do to make sure you keep the lines of communication open.
Schedule Time with Each Other
With busy schedules of adults and children, it can be hard to find time for effective communication. However, your busy schedules are even more reason you need to be communicating. Instead of simply going about your own life, make some time to talk to one another.
If you have to, schedule time to talk to your family. It may seem weird, but if it’s the only way to get some family talk time, you need to do it. You can even use dinnertime as a time for discussion. You’re all at the table, why not open up the lines and catch up with one another.
Offer Your Kids an Open Door
Your children aren’t going to come to you about everything, no matter how hard you try to be their “friend.” Even so, make sure they know they can come to you when they need to if they want to. Don’t force it.
With them knowing you want to help them and listen, there’s more of a chance they come to you with the big stuff. You just have to remember to be understanding, instead of controlling, when it comes to talking about the more difficult subjects (like sex, drinking, and drugs).
If you want your family to communicate with you, you need to ask them questions.
Sometimes it’s hard to just come up with a topic of conversation out of nowhere. Help open up the lines of communication by asking about your spouse’s workday, how your kids are doing in school, and other simple topics.
As you ask questions, everyone will warm, up and you’ll all learn a little more about one another. If someone doesn’t want to answer a question, watch their face and their body language. You may learn more from that than their words.
The Different Types of Communication
Speaking of body language, there is more than one way to communicate.
Much of the time, humans say more without words. Non-verbal communication is something you can see 24/7 in the way someone walks, the facial expressions, and more.
Another form of communication that can do good things for families is writing to one another.
How long ago was it the last time you grabbed a pen and wrote a love note to your significant other? You may be surprised at how much they’ll love the gesture. When you give cards for birthdays and other events, write a personal note inside – make it an extra special part of their gift.
Now that you know more about effective communication when it comes to your family, it’s time to start talking.
Take a little bit of time out of every day to ask your family members how they are doing or how their day went.
Your interest in their mundane lives may be enough to turn a bad day into a good one.
Feature image via Fuller Landau